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Eurobites: Huawei rip-out cost us £500M, says BT's WatsonEurobites: Huawei rip-out cost us £500M, says BT's Watson

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ericsson gets on Google's Distributed Cloud; KKR and the Italian government want more time on TIM bid; EE beefs up its scam defenses.

Paul Rainford

September 21, 2023

3 Min Read
BT logo on glass office building
(Source: BT)
  • The UK government's ban on telcos having Huawei gear in their 5G networks has cost BT £500 million (US$613 million), according to Howard Watson, BT's chief security and networks officer. As City A.M. reports, Watson told the Connected Britain conference on Wednesday that the company was "well on the way" to removing Huawei from its mobile core by the end of the year, and that around 90% of the 5G mobile data BT carries is now running over its cloud network infrastructure served by an Ericsson core. At the same event, Vodafone's chief network officer, Andrea Donà, said that his company was also making good progress on the Huawei strip-out, but acknowledged that the government's diktat constituted an "additional burden to an already constrained capital prioritisation process." (See Eurobites: BT asks for more time to rip-and-replace Huawei gear.)

  • Ericsson has developed a cloud RAN solution on Google Distributed Cloud in a move that the vendor says offers communications service providers integrated automation and orchestration, drawing on the power of AI and machine learning in the process. By running Ericsson Cloud RAN in this way, CSPs, says the vendor, will be able to use Google Cloud Vertex AI, BigQuery and other cloud services to make massive data sets being provided by cloud RAN applications easier to handle.

  • US investment fund KKR and the Italian government will ask Telecom Italia (TIM) to extend the end-of-September deadline for their joint bid for TIM's landline grid, according to a Reuters report. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's government agreed to back the deal last month. (See Eurobites: Italian government could take 20% stake in TIM deal.)

  • UK mobile operator EE is to bolster its defenses against scam calls and texts, eliminating, claims the operator, caller anonymity by verifying who is calling and using blocking technology to to root out messages where special characters are used to disguise scam detection such as €€ instead of EE. It also says it will update existing AI technology that can help detect the common "Hi Mum, Hi Dad" text scams.

  • Online TV channels could be forced to follow the same rules on content as traditional broadcasters under new plans being hatched by the UK government. Specifically, communications regulator will be given the powers to fine the online channels if they are deemed to be pumping out stuff that is harmful to the young and/or vulnerable. Seven in ten UK households now have a smart TV, through which audiences can access up to 900 unregulated and mostly Internet-based TV channels. The government has launched a consultation on the matter, which will run until November 15.

  • Safaricom has raised the M-Pesa transaction limit to 250,000 Kenyan shillings ($1,697). The increased transaction limit follows approval by the Central Bank of Kenya and follows previous approval for an increase of the M-Pesa daily limit to KSh. 500,000 ($3,394) per day.

  • UK altnet CityFibre has awarded its first round of Project Gigabit contracts to build partners in the English counties of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Hampshire and Suffolk. Granemore Group, OCU Group, CCN Communications and Telelink will all get a slice of the pie. The contracts will receive £387 million ($474 million) in state subsidy, while CityFibre is putting in £223 million ($273 million) of its own money.

About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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